In a move expected to help boost a future truck driver workforce and recognize the industry as a professional trade, two Australian states—Queensland and Tasmania—have established Heavy Vehicle Driver Apprenticeship programs, reports the online news resource Fleet HV News.
The apprenticeship was first proposed by the Queensland Trucking Association Ltd. (QTA) based on consultation with employers, drivers and industry stakeholders. The program combines training and direct paid job experience. Participants work toward completion of a nationally recognized qualification while learning on-the-job skills with the guidance of a training organization.
“The Heavy Vehicle Driving Apprenticeship is long awaited recognition of the level of skill truck drivers require and must develop to be a safe and competent operator,” said Gary Mahon, CEO of the QTA. “This is a significant step towards sustaining the future workforce in the road freight industry with truck driving now offered as a professional trade.”
The apprenticeship will help attract candidates in a sector suffering from a lack of drivers with adequate experience levels.
“After many years of lobbying both federal and state governments by industry and private operators, the announcement of an apprenticeship scheme for our industry will help raise the levels of safety and skills in this vital industry segment,” said John West, managing director of John West Logistics, a contract logistics provider in Australia and New Zealand.
For eligible Queensland apprentices and trainees, the program qualifies for public funding subsidies towards training and assessments costs under the User Choice Program. A co-contribution towards the training also will be required.
The QTA will continue to lobby for heavy vehicle driver occupations to be included on the National Skill’s Commission Skill Priority List.
Employers interested in offering the Heavy Vehicle Driver Apprenticeship can contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Provider for further information at the apprenticeship website.
Efforts are underway in the four remaining Australian states – Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria – as well as the nation’s two territories, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory, to establish a similar truck driver apprenticeship, according to the country’s Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee.